Social Security Disability Benefits
Social Security disability benefits are awarded to disabled workers and their dependents to help them survive through difficult times. However, for many people who need these benefits, bureaucratic red tape can make the claims process frustrating and intimidating. The Social Security Lawyers at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault can make this process less confusing and help you through this difficult time.
If you can no longer work because of injury or illness, and you find yourself in this difficult situation, the skilled and experienced Toledo Social Security disability benefits lawyers of Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault can help. We assist disabled workers throughout Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan.
We can represent you at all stages of the claims process and work hard to make sure you and your family receive the maximum benefits you deserve. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation about your Social Security benefits by calling us at 419-843-6663 or using our online contact form.
Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?
When you meet with a Social Security lawyer at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault, we will help you to determine if you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
To be eligible for SSDI benefits, you need to meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disabled.” This means you must suffer from a medical condition that has lasted (or is expected to last) for at least one year and prevents you from performing work at your previous job or working at a different type of job.
If you believe you meet this definition, and you are denied benefits, it may be because of an issue involving:
- Income. If you are working and your income exceeds $1,000 per month, then you may be declared ineligible for SSDI.
- Severity of your medical condition. If your condition is not on a master list of disabling conditions, the SSA may question whether your condition is “severe” enough to prevent you from working.
- Your ability to work another job. Even if you have shown that you can no longer perform your current or previous job, the SSA may challenge your claim.
- Work history. If you are age 31 or older, you need to have worked at least five of the 10 years prior to your application in order to receive SSDI benefits. If you are age 50 or older, then you need to provide proof that you worked at least seven years during your lifetime.
The Social Security benefits attorneys of Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault can help you to compile your employment and medical records and present a compelling case to the administrative law judges and appeals boards that review SSDI claims. We have helped numerous Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan residents receive benefits that they thought they would never receive.
How Do I Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?
There are two types of Social Security Disability Benefits, Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income. However, the process to apply for each benefit is different.
Generally, if a person has worked in the private sector (meaning they did not work in a local, state, or federal government position), they have paid into the Disability Insurance Benefits program. As they work, they earn quarters of coverage so that, if or when they become disabled, they can file a claim for benefits. The claimant can file on their own online or in-person at their local Social Security Office.
However, when it comes to Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the process is a little different. SSI is available for those who have a limited or no work history and meet certain income limits. For SSI applications, they MUST be filed in-person or over-the-phone. There is no online application for SSI.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Hearing?
While the numbers from NOSSCR and SSA may be different, one thing remains clear: it is not a fast process. The average wait time across the hearings offices currently served by GT&B is 12 to 15 months.
What Can I Expect While my Claim is Pending?
Once a claim for disability is filed, regardless of whether you have hired an attorney or not, there are certain things you can expect while awaiting the outcome of your claim.
First, there will be lots of paperwork. In order to determine if you are disabled, Social Security needs certain information that the claimant, and the claimant only, is in the best position to provide. This includes information about your past work – where you worked, how long you worked there, and, most importantly, what you did in those jobs; information about the pain you experience – where it is, how bad it is, what makes it better, what makes it worse, etc.; and what you can and cannot do because of your conditions. Further, with every appeal, Social Security requires updated information regarding your condition and treatment status, as well as any updates on your work if you have returned to work (even if that return was, ultimately, unsuccessful).
Second, Social Security has the request a consultative exam with a doctor of their choosing. This often happens when there is no recent medical treatment or there are conditions which are alleged on the disability application but for which a claimant is not receiving treatment. These include exams on both physical health conditions and mental health conditions.
What Happens Next?
It can take up to three-to-five months to get an initial decision – whether it be one granting or denying benefits. If denied, the next step is generally an appeal, called a Request for Reconsideration. It can then take another three-to-five months to get a decision, again whether it is one granting or denying benefits. If denied, the next step is to file a Request for a Hearing. The hearing is held in front of an Administrative Law Judge. However, it can take up to, and at times exceeding, twelve months to get a hearing. Thereafter, it can take another two-to-three months to get the judge’s decision. Of course with all these time frames, any particular case can take more or, if lucky enough, less time to get a decision.
You’ve Been Approved – Now What Happens?
Once you are found disabled, those benefits are not permanent – every recipient of disability will have their claim reviewed at least every three-to-seven years, depending on the severity of their disability as determined by Social Security. All of these details will be provided once your claim has been approved. The important thing to remember is to keep treating for you condition and never disregard any communications from the Social Security Administration.
Social Security Disability Benefits After Age 50
Understanding the over age 50 guidelines is important when filing claims for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. In considering your claim, Social Security will consider the following factors:
Your Age: Social Security takes age into consideration, understanding that there are fewer jobs open to people as they age.
Level of Education: Your level of education may qualify you for some kinds of “desk jobs” that require little, if any, physical ability.
Your Work History: If you can no longer perform the jobs you have always held in the last 15 years and are over the age of 50, then you may qualify for benefits under the “over age 50 guidelines.” For additional information check our Social Security Over Age 50 page.
Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault Can Help You
Filing a claim for Social Security Disability Benefits can be complicated, full of red tape and a lot of waiting. If you have any questions or need assistance in any part of your claim, contact Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault. GT&B is the most experienced Social Security legal team in the area. Schedule a free consultation at one of our convenient office locations. Call 419-843-6663 or contact us online.